Jimi, Stevie, or Clapton… Who would you hire?

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Check out the Little Wing videos of these three musical wonders below.  Enjoy the post and the poll!  Don’t forget to subscribe to our emails.  


Jimi, Stevie, or Clapton… Who would you hire?


Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Eric Clapton are considered three of the top rock/blues guitarists of all time.  They all electrified the musical world with their innovative styles and their soulful expressions, and they did it in such unique ways.  While Jimi and Stevie have long since passed, Clapton remains active and influential in the musical world.

This current poll goes beyond simply asking you who the best guitarist of all time is.  I personally believe when people consider that question, they are only considering the musical output that is heard on records or on stage.  There are many more factors that go into being a guitarist in a band, however, especially if you are the one working with that person.

For this poll, we are asking you to think a little deeper.  We are asking you to consider who of these three you would hire for your band if you had the choice.  This takes a little more consideration, as each have their unique strengths, but also some serious baggage.

The following are some character/musical traits you might consider as you make this difficult selection.

  • Musical Output – How will the style and performance fit into the style and vision of the band?
  • Reliability – Can you rely on the guitarist, both on and off the stage?  Do you think they would be good about showing up to important rehearsals and events?
  • Drug/alcohol use – It’s rock ‘n roll, so there just might be drinking and drugs involved.  All three of these guitarists had documented struggles with drugs and alcohol.  Would the severity of their substance abuse be a factor that would turn you off from one or more of the choices, or would it actually make you more likely to work with them?
  • Stage presence – How will the guitarist’s personality add to, or subtract from, the success of the band?

There are obviously many more talking points to consider.  And again, there is not a bad choice here.  Remember, though, you are not voting for who you think the best guitarist of all time is based on the work they put out. That discussion is overplayed. You are voting on which of these three mammoth axemen you would hire to be in your band.

Poll Smash has provided you with three beautiful versions of the tune Little Wing so you can see how each of them treated it.  You can view these examples in the linked videos below to help you make your decision.

Clapton’s version

Why it is so good – Clapton shared the stage with Sheryl Crow here.  Big deal.  More importantly, he played with David Sanborn, a great jazz saxophonist.  As good as Clapton is, he is probably inferior to the improv abilities of a jazz professional; a jazz player makes his/her living by being an improvisationist, whereas Clapton relies more on songwriting and relatively simplified scale choices (not that there is anything wrong with that).  During this tune, Sanborn blows Clapton off the stage, AND CLAPTON LETS HIM.  That, my friends, is the mark of an unselfish and seasoned professional.  Clapton listened, and built a canvas for Sanborn to paint a beautiful solo.  He recognized what his role was at that musical moment in time, embraced it, and provided a situation for musical greatness to occur.  I would hire this kind of player in a second.


Stevie Ray’s Version

Why it is so good – I just love watching how Stevie Ray treated his guitar.  He loved that axe like it was his child, but he also let it know who was boss.  Forgive the slight vulgarity, but he treated it like his proverbial bitch.  This man had complete mastery over his instrument, and through it, he was able to obtain complete zen every time he touched it.  He entered a different universe when he played, and he brought everyone else along for the beautiful ride.  Hired!


Jimi’s Version 

Why it is so good – Anybody that can light guitars on stage, but still write pieces as beautiful as this tune is gifted with something special.  What’s more, every time he played the tune in its original form, it was as if he was still searching for something new.  He seemed to always be searching for something new.  Jimi was on a constant journey, albeit a tortured one, and anybody who plays with that kind of purpose makes those around them better.


Okay, now go choose the guitarist out of these three that you would hire for your band.  You have a tough decision to make.  And, if you like this poll, you might be interested in:  Does Hip Hop belong in the Rock Hall of Fame?


Jimi, Stevie, or Clapton… Who would you hire?